Jail for credit card, cheque fraud

Jail for credit card, cheque fraud

A jobless 28-year-old stole the credit cards and cheque books of his family members and went on a shopping and gambling spree.

In less than three months, Nicholas Tian Weijie spent at least $36,850, including on iPhones and restaurant meals. He resold some of his purchases to get cash. Only $700 has been recovered.

Yesterday, he was jailed for 27 months after admitting to committing 99 offences between last December and February this year.

These included misappropriating or stealing nine credit cards - most of which belonged to his father - and using some to cheat retailers to hand over their goods.

The amount chalked up included sums from seven cheques he had forged and cashed in the name of his brother, from whom he stole or misappropriated five cheque books. Tian successfully withdrew $12,500.

The court heard that he took the cards and cheque books from the HDB flat in Elias Road where he lived with his father, businessman Johnny Tian Cheng Lock, 61, and twin brother Douglas Tian Weijian, an audit assistant manager.

On at least one occasion, he impersonated his father, made a false report to a bank that a credit card was lost, and took the replacement from the letter box when it arrived.

Tian was arrested on Jan 14 when he tried to make a purchase with one of his father's cards at an IT shop in Sim Lim Square. He became visibly nervous when he was asked to verify that the card belonged to him.

He was released on police bail two days later, but went on to commit 30 of his credit card-related offences.

Pointing this out, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Tan said Tian had disregarded the law and should be jailed for 28 to 34 months.

It is understood that the elder Mr Tian was unaware of what was happening as he was in and out of Singapore at the time.

But his son Douglas had made a police report on Jan 3 after spotting unauthorised withdrawals from his bank accounts.

District Judge Toh Yung Cheong said the credit card and cheque fraud Tian committed were serious offences.

Tian pleaded guilty to 16 charges in all, with 83 others taken into consideration.

He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined for each charge of cheating companies to hand over their property, and for each count of forgery to cheat.

pohian@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 3, 2014.
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